Liberating Structures - a new find


Hey folks - I stumbled across something new (to me, anyway) and am wondering if anyone’s got experience or awareness of this. Liberating Structures which reminds me a bit of mash-up of Design Thinking, Core Protocols, Retrospective techniques, Team Building etc.

Is this something known in our Agile community? How have people used it? Would love to hear more…


Never heard of it but I have to admit I’m quite intrigued. Going to dig into this.


Boom! I dropped another thought-bomb…


and the reading list continues to grow…


Yes, I came across LS recently and had the same reaction - seem to be a mix of what we already know ( OST, group facilitation, brainstorming etc), yet there seem to be much more -

LS seem to be better known in Europe, slowly making it’s way to US. I am very curious!

There is a first US-based immersion workshop in Seattle

and a global gathering, immediately following the workshop:

I’ve registered for both :slight_smile: Very excited.


Very interesting. Scanning quickly, the 15% Solutions exercise looks useful for teams who need some nudging to see a path forward.


I’ve seen it before, thought it was intriguing, but have not yet found application for it day to day w teams I serve.


I’ve experienced this one in a Game Design workshopat Play4Agile in Germany.
Since then I’ve used it at large group retrospectives and in Training from the Back of the Room classes.
Good way to engage large audience


Yes. I have used them and I love them. They are a great facilitation toolset that are designed to be mixed and matched. They also can be used with and compliment many other tools.


Dana: should be a good event!

I learned about LS about 4 years ago (they published a book in 2013), there are essential faciitation patterns. I went to a session on LS in Boston about 2+ years ago that was co-hosted by Keith McCandless, one of the co-authors.

I chatted with him, sharing how these patterns are essentially ones that the professional facilitation community has also been using and sharing (the IAF, Int’l Association of Facilitators, in fact has a pretty big database of them.

[I used to attend the IAF gatherings, for many years, and learned so much from facilitators that had nothing to do w/ software or product development ;-). IAF: And, as my first book on facilitated workshop for software requirements was in production, i decided to go through the IAF certification process. (which really was a certification - performanced-based - an excellent experience).

Both to LS: I was stunned when Keith told me he had not heard of IAF :wink: – funny how essentially parallel communities emerge and don’t know about each other. And yet, but their roots, principles, and practices have so much in common. he seemed happy to know about them.

The name LS is compelling, and i think that has helped their uptake.

anyway, good stuff!

warm regards, all, and hopes for a peaceful holiday…
~ ellen


Thanks for sharing, Ellen! And now of course I want to pay more attention to IAF :slight_smile: I’ve been keeping an eye on that organization as well.
Sending you a warm hug, enjoy the holidays.


For those interested in LS and in the Northwest, quite a few regular attendees of Agile Open Northwest are well-versed in LS. We almost always see sessions that draw on various of them. And there are still registrations left for our 2019 event: !


You had me at liberating.
But I’m easy


I use 1-2-4-all quite a lot. Given the team sizes I typically work with I either skip 4 or add 8. There’s an app for liberating structures, as well as a deck of physical cards.


Happy to update you all that since the last post I attended 2 days LS immersion workshop and the LS global gathering in Seattle. Totally blown away by the power of liberating structures and inspired to spread the goodness here in NYC. The new meetup is free and open to all ( agile and non-agile friends)

Next week is our first meetup where I will co-facilitate with two other LS practitioners from NYC, who I met in Seattle.
Please join us!

Additionally, if you are coming to NYC for Big Apple Scrum Day in May, you will get to experience LS there. I will be facilitating conference closing with 300 people using Liberating Structures.


Thanks for the reminder, I need to dig into this. I feel the same way about openspace after my conversation with Dan Mezick and things going on in that space…totally excited about the possibilities!


finally got around to digging into this…and I love it! Definitely going to use a bunch of these going forwards, for working sessions, retros, you name it. There’s some ideas in here that I think can be used to drive the right dialog. Thanks for suggesting (even tho it took me 6mos to get into it!)


I’ve recently completed two days PSM II class and liberating structures were at the core of facilitation.
It was a fantastic experience and I definitely will use them to conduct training sessions.
This article describes how and what kind of liberating structures could be used to run a class - “Creating a new learning experience with the PSM II class”

Btw, here there are a lot of other examples how to use Liberating Structures at your daily work.


Mind expanding:


Has anybody read: